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MOSCOW – Tens of thousands of protesters have thronged Moscow this weekend to protest against a ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the country. Organizers claimed over 150,000 people took part in the Moscow protest, which would make it the biggest since the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. This outnumbers the number of people who protested against Vladimir Putin in December 2011. Protesters try to break through a cordon during a demonstration against Jehovah’s Witnesses ban On April 20, Russia’s Supreme Court declared Jehovah’s Witnesses to be an extremist organization and outlawed its activity throughout Russia, thereby upholding the Justice Ministry’s requests. The court declared the immediate shutdown of all 395 local chapters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and transferred the organization’s assets into state custody. Jehovah’s Witnesses said it would appeal the decision. According to the protesters, they are Christians from various denominations and they “could not look on as rights to worship of other denomination is infringed upon”. One protester told the press that “this ban would gradually eats into other Christian denominations”. No member Jehovah’s Witness took part in the protest. Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky court weeks ago rejected a lawsuit filed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group against the Justice Ministry’s ruling on banning its activity in Russia, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom. The organization asked the court to recognize the Justice Ministry’s ruling as illegal and order its cancellation. “The court decided to reject the lawsuit of the religious organization “Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia,” Judge Nelli Rubtsova said. In its lawsuit, the Justice Ministry pointed to various violations by the organization’s activities revealed during a surprise inspection, including of the Law on Counteracting Extremist Activities. On October 12, 2016, Moscow’s Tverskoy district court issued a warning to the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center based on revelations of extremism there. Under Russian law, a religious association or organization is subject to termination if it does not remedy the specified manifestations of extremism before the required deadline or displays any new ones. Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.